Every home should have a safe for storing valuables. Many people associate a house safe with protection from theft, but safes can also protect your possessions and records from fire and water damage as well. Here are some tips on how to determine the home safe that is right for your needs.
Before you go shopping for a safe, gather up the material you feel you need to put in your safe and then measure it. A safe of roughly one and a quarter cubic feet will hold about a foot of normal sized papers commonly used for business letters. Once you determine how many cubic feet of space you need, you can shop for a safe with the confidence that you won't accidentally buy a safe that's the wrong size.
Protection From Fire
Most buyers of safes are rightfully concerned about losing valuable documents, photos or collectibles should the house catch fire. The risk of fire is not a remote one, with one in four people at some point in their lifetime experiencing a fire in their home that requires calling the fire department. What degree of fire resistance you need depends on what you intend to store in the safe. Paper is generally safe up to temperatures of 350 degrees, but more delicate items like photos, DVDs and computer files can be damaged at half that temperature. Check the safe's exterior or packaging to determine how much heat your safe can endure.
Unfortunately, it is more difficult to determine the degree of safety from theft a safe provides. However, simply putting something in a box with a lock will by its very nature provide at least some protection. Part of this protection comes from the weight of the safe. An average home safe weights about 100 pounds before you even put anything into it, which makes it hard for a routine burglar to run off with it. You can also get kits that will bolt the safe to the floor or wall. Consider hiding the safe in a wall or beneath the floor.
It is foolish to buy a safe that is not waterproof, since you never know when a flood may strike or water pipes may break. Check to be sure before buying whether the safe is waterproof. Safes that are water sealed also have the advantage of being air tight, thereby protecting your valuables from smoke that may fill the room the safe is located in, even if the room itself doesn't experience the actual flames.
Buying a home safe can enhance your peace of mind, but do your homework first so you know what type of safe you'll need.